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Madadayo

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 66.21
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Product Details

  • Actors: Tatsuo Matsumura, Kyôko Kagawa, Hisashi Igawa, Jôji Tokoro, Masayuki Yui
  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Hyakken Uchida, Ishirô Honda
  • Producers: Gohei Kogure, Hiroshi Yamamoto, Hisao Kurosawa, Seikichi Iizumi
  • Format: Color, DVD-Video, Letterboxed, Subtitled, NTSC
  • Language: Japanese
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (US and Canada This DVD will probably NOT be viewable in other countries. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • MPAA Rating: UNRATED
  • Studio: Fox Lorber
  • Release Date: March 13 2001
  • Run Time: 134 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews
  • ASIN: B000059H7C
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #77,199 in DVD (See Top 100 in DVD)
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Product Description

Product Description

The film follows the last 2 decades in the life of Hyakken Uchinda, a writer and teacher who retires in the war years of the early 1940's. His students venerate him in his old age, and join him and his family each year for a ritual birthday party, asking "are you ready?" to which he answers, "not yet," acknowledging that death may be near, but life still goes on.

Kurosawa is considered to be one of the greatest filmmakers of all time and this, his final and touching film, is the perfect ending to a lifetime of cinematic achievements.

Amazon.ca

Akira Kurosawa was 83 years old when he made this, his serenely glorious final film. Kurosawa's eyesight was failing, so Madadayo would be the master's farewell to filmmaking, and one can hardly imagine a more lovely and loving way to end one of the greatest careers in motion picture history. Based on the literary works of Japanese author Hyakken Uchida, the film presents Uchida as its central character (named only "The Professor"), and begins in war-torn Tokyo with the sensei's retirement from teaching in 1943. He is considered "solid gold" by his legacy of former students, who support their beloved teacher as he focuses on writing and throw annual birthday parties in his honor. Each year they ask "Maadha kai?" ("Are you ready?"), to which the aging professor responds, "Madadayo!" ("Not yet!"), acknowledging that he will die someday, but only when he's ready.

While Madadayo may not be autobiographical, the professor (played with charming grace by Tatsuo Matsumura) is clearly Kurosawa--a beloved master reflecting on life, continuing to teach, and expressing gratitude for a long and rewarding career that was "not yet" over. This is a calm and simple film of peaceful resolution, in which the only major crisis is the loss of a cat--an episode both heartbreaking and, finally, as life affirming as the professor's benevolent wisdom. And while Kurosawa was criticized for being sentimental when Madadayo was released in Japan in 1993 (it didn't reach Western shores until 2000), there's an important distinction to be made between sentiment and the twilight serenity of one of the cinema's most eloquent humanitarians. Closing with a final dream image that's as beautiful as only dreams can be, Madadayo is, in its own way, as miraculous as any of Kurosawa's previous masterworks. --Jeff Shannon

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
As a fan of Kurosawa, I knew that I had to see his last film. The mixed reviews concerned me a bit. After viewing it, however, I am convinced it is one of his greatest works.
On the surface, this is a story about a beloved and somewhat child-like (in a positive way) professor in the autumn of his life. It is a touching and at times seemly overly sentimental story. There are some laugh out loud moments--the scenes with the horse, the professor's attempts to foil robbers and a student doggedly reciting all of the train stops along an extremely long route come to mind. The professor is quick-witted and warm, the acting exceptional.
Many reviewers have already given more details on the plot, so I invite you to watch and look deeper. Although I am not one given to finding allegory everywhere, there are many subtleties here that I assume are completely intentional. A director as great as Kurosawa does not randomly throw in images. So consider...The country of Japan has been torn by war, and so has the professor. We see the results of air raids--the Professor's own home and much of his town has been destroyed. The American occupation is causing changes in the Japanese way of life. Although there is no open criticism, the brief scenes involving Americans and their influences (watch for them!) show you that the Japanese characters find them incomprehensible and aren't sure what to make of them. Additionally, as the film progresses, there is a subtle influx of Western influences-more English words, American customs etc. The Professor is caught between the old Japan and the new. The scene between the kindly neighbor and the callous new landowner illustrate this.
Nowhere is this conflict apparent than in the scene with the missing cat.
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Format: DVD
I first saw this movie at a Japanese film festival, and I was immediately entraced. It is the first Kurosawa films I have ever seen, and it has left me longing to watch the rest of his work.
As other reviewers more eloquent than I have said, this film presents a touching look at the relationship between teachers and students, but in unique historical and personal circumstances. With World War II as its backdrop, "Madadayo" sticks to the relatively simple life of a high school German teacher and author and the lifelong relationships he has with many of his former students. The depth of the now-adult students' appreciation and friendship for their teacher manifests itself in a yearly celebration of the teacher's life, as well as everyday kindnesses (memorable incidents include the students' worries that the teacher's house is not protected from burglars and their efforts to 'correct' this problem by breaking into his house and finding out for themselves how the teacher will handle it, and my particular favorite, the loss of the teacher's pet cat and the heartbreaking emotions this brings to the characters).
This movie is not epic, nor does it contain much action. It does, however, have a lot of heart (which is a somewhat corny phrase, but truly fits this film). I give it my highest recommendations.
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Format: DVD
Shortly into this movie, I realized that the sensei may have been a real person in history, but Kurosawa selected his life to represent his own. Metaphorically, Kurosawa was the great sensei of the global film industry. This film released just a few years before his death carried a message to all his beloved fans and students, "Madadayo (Not yet)." Kurosawa died when I was in Tokyo working at the Pacific Stars and Stripes. The week of his death, I had asked my editor to try to arrange an interview with the great film master. Sadly, before I could met him, he passed on. So, it was that when I realized the message of this, his final film, was the he was not ready to pass on, I cried. Subtle, sublime, personal, this film is not designed for average viewers. For devoted Kurosawa fans, it will be a touching farewell. For those with a less intimate relationship with the film master, it may seem slow and unmoving. I, however, was very moved. Kurosawa's passing is truly a loss to the world of media imagery.
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By A Customer on April 1 2001
Format: DVD
Akira Kurosawa's final film is, in his own words, about "the enviable world of warm hearts." It follows the twilight years of the beloved Japanese essayist Hyakken Uchida, from his retirement in 1943 to his final dream. His students call him a lump of "pure gold," without any flaws--and that is what the movie is truly about--having a kind soul, loving life, and being loved. Uchida Sensei thus evinces all the traits of the classic Kurosawa hero, but the director has never been this poigniant since his masterpiece "Ikiru" (which the film recalls in many ways), perhaps because of the personal nature of the story--Kurosawa once attempted suicide, but obviously left with a love for life. In the poetic, spare style of "Madadayo," Kurosawa even manages in some scenes to catch up to the master, Yasujiro Ozu... Terrific. Those without the taste for the moving quality of the simplicity of the plot and pace of the film may also find it long and overly sentimental, as it has been criticized, but I feel that such viewers are overlooking Kurosawa's subtle accomplishments.
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